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Healthier Futures - ICS Development

In February 2021 The Health and Social Care Secretary, with the support of NHS England and health and care system leaders, set out new proposals to build on the successful response to the pandemic. The proposals were detailed in a Government White Paper for NHS and social care reform titled, 'Working together to improve health and social care for all' and aim to bring health and care services closer together to build back better by improving care and tackling health inequalities.

The measures set out in a government White Paper, will modernise the legal framework to make the health and care system fit for the future and put in place targeted improvements for the delivery of public health and social care. It will support local health and care systems to deliver higher quality care to their communities, in a way that is less legally bureaucratic, more accountable and more joined up, by bringing together the NHS, local government and partners together to tackle the needs of their communities as a whole.

The proposals build on the NHS’ recommendations for legislative change in the NHS Long Term Plan

Under the proposals, there will be a single Integrated Care Board for health and care partners locally which will be an NHS statutory body. It’s important to note that there will be no statutory role in place until April 2022 (subject to the passage of legislation). During this time we will be working together to get ready for any changes, whilst making sure that all colleagues are supported and valued for the skills and expertise they bring to any new way of working. Including a commitment to seek stability of employment for current staff.

A key responsibility for our system will be to support place-based joint working between the NHS, Local Government and other partners such as the voluntary and community sector. The White Paper proposes that frequently, place level commissioning within an integrated care system will align geographically to a local authority boundary, and the Better Care Fund (BCF) plan will provide a tool for agreeing priorities. The boundaries for some ICSs, including our own, have been reviewed with the decision made nationally that the West Birmingham geography will join Birmingham and Solihull ICS on 1st April 2022.  We will work with our colleagues in the Birmingham and Solihull ICS  and with our local stakeholders to ensure we continue to work collaboratively for the mutual benefit of the people who live in West Birmingham and the staff responsible for delivery of health and care services, to ensure a smooth transition.

Over the next 12 months we will be working with partners across the Black Country and West Birmingham to develop our ICS to ensure we are ready to take on the statutory powers described in the white paper. This is of course subject to legislative change. We are committed to updating stakeholders on this work as it develops. View our stakeholder newsletters.

What stage are the changes at legislatively?

On Wednesday (14 July) the Health and Care Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons and now moves to Committee stage for further interrogation by MPs.

What is an Integrated Care System?

What does it mean for the West Birmingham Place?

In July The Department of Health and Social Care formally announced that future Integrated Care Systems across the country will be aligned to Local Authority boundaries. Locally, this means that the place of West Birmingham, currently in the Black Country and West Birmingham System, will move to the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (ICS) from April 2022 (subject to legislative changes going through Parliament).
This change to our ICS boundaries will not directly affect current NHS provision of services and we want to be clear that existing commitments (e.g. capital investments) will not be affected. Locally, we have been working together to develop strong relationships between our neighbouring systems in anticipation of this change, and this will continue. Our priority over the coming months will be to achieve a safe landing into the new NHS infrastructure. In light of this announcement, we will take stock of the work already undertaken and work with local stakeholders to ensure we continue to work collaboratively for the mutual benefit of the people who live in West Birmingham and the staff responsible for delivery of health and care services, to ensure a smooth transition. 
The announcement regarding the decision made by the Department of Health and Social Care can be found here.

What are the Changes proposed?

The changes proposed will see the establishment of the following:

  • The Black Country Health and Care Partnership Forum

Each ICS will have a partnership at system level established by the NHS and local government as equal partners. 

This will bring together NHS, local government and other partners to move forward with improving health and wellbeing. The ICS Partnership is expected to develop an 'Integrated Care Strategy' based on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments. The Government does not intend to bring forward prescriptive legislation to say how partnerships should operate. The ICS NHS Body and local authorities must jointly select a Partnership Chair and define their role, term of office and accountabilities.

  • The Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) (previously referred to as the NHS Body)

This new organisation will lead integration in the NHS, bringing together all those involved in planning and providing NHS services.

The Black Country Integrated Care Board will be a statutory organisation which will be: 

  • Working with the Health and Care partnership to Develop a plan to meeting the health care, social care, public health and population health needs of the population
  • Allocating resources to deliver the plan
  • Establishing joint working arrangements and can choose to commission jointly with local authorities
  • Establishing governance arrangements - underpinned by statutory and contractual responsibilities to ensure the plan is within the system financial envelope
  • Arranging for the provision of health services
    • Putting contacts and arrangements in place to secure delivery of it's plan by providers
    • Convening and supporting providers to lead major service transformation programmes
    • Working with local authorities and Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners to put in place personalised care for people
  • Leading system implementation of the People Plan supporting a 'one workforce' model
  • Leading system-wide action on data and digital to put the citizen at the centre of their care
  • Using this data to understand local priorities, track delivery plans and monitor variation
  • Working with councils to invest in local community organisations and infrastructure
  • Drive joint working on estates, procurement, supply chain and commercial strategies to maximise value for money
  • Planning for, responding to and leading recovery from incidents (EPRR)
  • Receiving the functions that NHS England and NHS Improvement will be delegating, including commissioning of primary care and appropriate specialist services.

It is expected Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) functions, duties, assets and liabilities will transfer to an ICS NHS body. Statutory duties around children in care and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will apply to ICS ICBs as CCGs are abolished.

Who will lead the new ICS?

In July 2021 following a robust process, NHS England and NHS Improvement recommended, and the Secretary of State agreed, that Mr Jonathan Fellows should be the chair designate of the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, and ready to take up the post substantively from April 2022 should Parliament confirm the current plans.

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